New Songtsam Tibetan lodge takes luxury far off the beaten path

Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

One of the biggest post-pandemic travel trends we've been hearing about nonstop over the past year is the expectation that travelers will be looking to make bucket list trips to lesser traveled destinations.

Meanwhile, studies show travelers will also be looking for destinations and accommodations with a focus on sustainability and wellness.

One company, Songtsam, has long provided all three, with a group of luxury boutique lodges and land programs in some of the most remote regions of Tibet.

Last week, the company announced its expansion further into the Tibet's interior with the opening of a new property, the Songtsam Lodge Namcha Barwa, which will be the 13th in its collection.

Located in Dalin Village, perhaps best known for its annual spring peach blossom festival, the 33-suite lodge offers dramatic views of Tibet's famed Namcha Barwa mountain, which rises more than 25,500 feet above sea level.

The scenery is the focal point of each suite, where floor-to-ceiling windows open to make the living room an extension of the balcony and provide unobstructed views of Namcha Barwa from anywhere in the suite.

The lodge also has a reading room with two-story-high bookshelves that also boasts views of Namcha Barwa. Outside are three reflecting pools, which capture the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, the clouds and the stars at night.

To support the remote local community and promote improved living standards, Songtsam has committed to contributing $30 from every room night booked to the village. And the company said its hopes that within two years, more than 60% of the hotel's staff will be from surrounding villages.

"As Songtsam expands into the more remote Tibetan interiors, the Songtsam brand will become more closely connected with these geographic locales while at the same time contributing to the well-being of the neighboring communities,"  the company's founder and chairman, Baima Duoji, said in a press release.

Douji, a former documentary filmmaker, founded the company in 2000. The company says it offers the only collection of luxury Tibetan-style retreats in the region, some in villages so remote that even backpackers can't find them.

In addition to the hotels, which also offer wellness programs based on ancient Tibetan meditation principles, the company operates custom tours in the region with travel butlers and Land Rover vehicles.


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